Marc As Teacher

My sister Julie gave me my first guitar lesson in 1958. Before long I had learned enough to begin showing friends how to play. Almost seventy years later I am still doing that.

I had the advantage of learning in person from the old masters like John Hurt, Rev. Gary Davis, and Mance Lipscomb and new friends like Al Young, Steve Talbot, and others at the Ann Arbor Folklore Society. From them I learned to play in many styles including Delta Blues, finger picking, Ragged time and Folk. I started teaching classes to pass on this tradition. This book contains the material I use when I teach people to play “by ear”.

The book contains musical pieces organized in a sequence to add one ingredient at a time from a basic starting point. It contains 32 songs including lyrics, notation, guitar tablature and related information about other versions. Here are a few sample pages.

You can order the book for $30.00 by printing and sending this order form.

There are recordings of many of these songs, many from a class taught in 2006 on my YouTube channel (here) in the Teaching playlist (here).

Many have learned this material over the years. Here are some comments from former students.


Several years ago I was invited to participate in a Blues Guitar Class presented by Folk and Blues legend Marc Silber. Marc learned from some of the best of the American legends including Rev. Gary Davis, Mance Lipscomb, and Mississippi John Hurt.

The members of our class varied in skill from novice to skilled veterans. Marc had the unusual ability to bring skill and enjoyment to all these players.

Fortunately he has a new book which contains most of the Blues and Roots Music material and includes both European Notation and Guitar Tablature. That will help players at any level learn and improve.. His classes were unique because we could learn from Marc and each other. Using time-honored methods of oral (and aural) traditions and shared experience , aspiring Blues players now have a new road map from one of the best next generation’s greatest Blues player-teachers the country has ever produced.

Michael Scollard, Oakland, CA. September. 1, 2023



I was a student of Marc’s for 9 1/2 years, first solo and then in his classes. My training with his guidance has produced exciting results. When playing in public I can even get the girls up and dancing to my two Boogies. “Lil Swamp Boogie” or the “Let’s Pretend Boogie”. I am so proud I can initiate dances a result of this time signature which is actually quite popular. Marc’s teaching works.


Beyond rhythmic precision and authentic portrayal of the Tradition, Marc also encouraged my own creativity making the music my own. This second feature is not emphasized by most teachers. (I’ve had many.)

Playing within a tradition competently while adding your own Gumbo zesty lyrics, and licks — this is Marc’s encouragement. Start with the Boogie and proceed to acquire other finger style masterpieces which you will enjoy for years. Listeners too!


Don Villa, Berkeley, CA, July 5th, 2022


Taking guitar lessons from Marc Silber is a transformative experience. It was for for me and a dozen of my high school friends. We gathered in his home weekly to learn 3 finger picking and many other guitar techniques, as well as songs, styles, folk history, and folk ways of looking at the world. Marc’s quiet way of teaching and the communal experience that resulted were unique and inspiring. Way more than mere lessons, these were formative experiences that have stayed with us, whenever we play, sing, or listen to music. Also as we go about life. In the 1950’s, high school students did not have sex or drugs. But thanks to people like Marc, we had high doses of Folk.

Frederick Doner, New York City, November 2023


Tom Paine would be proud Marc!
And so am I!
For the 35 plus years I be knowing you you have walked – and strummed- and sang and taught your “talk” better than many other top of our voices” class of 1960’s” alumni!Whether it has been on stage at Strings or in the classroom on Dwight and 8th street or hanging at your “Office” at the French Hotel …Seeing you has always been a spirit reviving infusion of that “lamp” that Blind Willie Johnson told us to “keep trimmed and burnin”!
You remain the real deal and I am proud and pleased and tickled too (as Mississippi John would say) to know you and to be among the dozens, probably hundreds , of “Grey Prancers” who have basked in the warmth and wit and wisdom (yes- Wisdom – Marc- get over it – you’re an “Elder” and a genuine “Wise Guy”)
So keep on Truckin’ and Muckin’ and stirring up the bee hive of discomforting truths to sting power and entitlement in the Bee- Hind!

See ya round the hood I hope 
I still want to show you my washburn and the tuners that won’t be located.

Peace Love and more bent notes
Bob Hahn, California, December 2023

“When they go low we go high.” 
 Michelle Obama
“Keep your lamp trimmed and burnin'”-
Blind Willie Johnson


Marc, I love this song (Detroit City). I remember it from our time learning guitar in your class.
You absorbed the culture of Detroit. It’s tough, blue collar roots and brought it to us. Your understanding was probably assisted by the fact your father was a labor lawyer. (Do I have that right?)

Let’s think about the 50’s. The time when Julie and I were learning folk music from you. In high school we had No sex. No drugs. Folk music was our drug. Weekend gatherings had us playing mini-hootenanny’s in each other’s homes. Thinking back, this was a moment of post war peace and security unique in the history of America if not the world. We were in it. We were innocent. We knew there were deep social issues, which we sang about. We protested at SS Kresge to stop discrimination at lunch counters. But we had this time together that may never be replicatable.

I thank you for it. Never would have happened without you.

Frederick Doner 2024


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